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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Native American Tribes in Virginia and North Carolina Are Close to Achieving Federal Recognition

May 5, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The Lumbee tribe, located in Robeson County, N.C., was recognized by the state of North Carolina as American Indians in 1884. In 1956, Congress recognized them as American Indians, but they did not receive the full benefits of federal recognition.

The Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe, all located in Virginia, received recognition from the state of Virginia in 1983.  There are currently no federally recognized tribes in Virginia.

Federal recognition is usually handled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, however, the process is difficult.  One of the bureau's criteria for recognition is that tribes prove that they've been recognized as group or community of American Indians for a century, which is very hard for most tribes because states haven't always classified them as American Indians.  For instance, members of the Virginia tribes were classified as "colored" in the 1920s.

Because the Lumbee tribe were partially recognized in 1956, full recognition must come from Congress. 

The Lumbee tribe, located in Robeson County, N.C., was recognized by the state of North Carolina as American Indians in 1884. In 1956, Congress recognized them as American Indians, but they did not receive the full benefits of federal recognition.

The Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe, all located in Virginia, received recognition from the state of Virginia in 1983.  There are currently no federally recognized tribes in Virginia.

Federal recognition is usually handled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, however, the process is difficult.  One of the bureau's criteria for recognition is that tribes prove that they've been recognized as group or community of American Indians for a century, which is very hard for most tribes because states haven't always classified them as American Indians.  For instance, members of the Virginia tribes were classified as "colored" in the 1920s.

Because the Lumbee tribe were partially recognized in 1956, full recognition must come from Congress. 

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